5.3.15

Sagalassos , Turkey

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Sagalassos is an impressive archaeological site set in a magnificent mountain landscape, 7 km to the north of the nearest town of Ağlasun (province of Burdur, SW Turkey). The archaeological remains are spread along the south facing terraces of the mountain slopes.
Sagalassos site, which was the metropolis of Pisidia, is located in the high country of Ağlasun, east of Burdur, and has extensive late Hellenistic and Roman remains. The current program of investigation began in 1985 with surveys by a British/Belgian team led by Stephen Mitchell and Marc Waelkens. Since 1990 Sagalassos has been investigated in more detail, using a combination of survey, full-scale excavation and environmental and geomorphological research, by Waelkens.
The Late Hellenistic fountain house, 50 - 25 AD 

Türkçe
Kazı çalışmalarının başlangıcı olan 1990'dan itibaren, Sagalassos'taki arkeolojik araştırma, anıtsal şehir yapıları ile arkeolojiyi daha çok temsil eden heykel ya da benzeri sanat eserlerine odaklanan klasik arkeoloji geleneklerinden ayrılmak niyetindeydi. Bu konulara da gerekli özen gösterilse de, alana uygulanan genel yaklaşım, doğası ne olursa olsun günümüze kadar korunmuş her türlü kanıtsal malzemenin örneklerinin alınıp ve incelendiği ve bu sayede antik dönemdeki çevrenin ve gündelik hayatın her yönünün belgelendiği dallararası bir yaklaşımdır. Sagalassos Arkeolojik Araştırma Projesinin esas hedefi Sagalassos kentinin çevresi ile ilişkili olarak kökenini, büyümesini ve sonunda çöküşünü araştırmaktır. Arkeolojik Araştırma Projesi bir yandan şehrin 1800 km2 genişliğindeki kontrol sahasındaki yerleşim geçmişini, yöresel doğadan nasıl etkilendiğini ve aynı zamanda doğayı nasıl değiştirdiğini belirlemeye çalışmaktadır. Diğer yandan insanların yaşama yöntemleri, ekonomisi, ticaret düzenleri ve kentin sosyal geçmişi araştırılmaktadır. Bu dallararası yaklaşım sayesinde jeologlar (mineral kaynaklarını çalışıp, çanak çömleklerin örneklerini alıp inceleyerek), jeomorfologlar (alan dahilinde arazi şekillerini, tortulaşmayı ve erozyonu inceleyerek), ve arkeozoologlar (yaşam düzenlerini, ve hayvanların ekonomide kullanımı ile geride bıraktıkları ekolojik izleri inceleyerek) en baştan itibaren projenin içinde bulunmuşlardır. Bu 19 seneden daha uzun süredir devam eden dallararası işbirliği, Sagalassos'un gelişiminin fiziksel ve kültürel özellikleri hakkında bir bilgi hazinesi ortaya çıkarmıştır.
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History

Around the fourteenth century BC, the Sagalassos area fell under Luwian influence and there are signs of imports from Mycenaean Greece or its colonies. Shortly after 1200 BC, the great empires of the Bronze Age fell and were succeeded by the Phrygians, the Lydians, and finally the Persians. Different groups evolved out of the former Luwian states. One of these were the Pisidians, who also inhabited the Sagalassos region.
Hellenizing influences in Pisidia were already felt in the time of the Persians, and perhaps also reached Sagalassos. This evolution was accelerated and strengthened after Alexander the Great passed through the region. Under his successors in the Roman period, Sagalassos became, much faster than some other Pisidian cities, a polis resembling the ‘city-states’ of ancient Greece. This ‘progressive’ development probably occurred at the expense of the ‘conservative’ neighbouring settlement of Düzen Tepe.
Sagalassos was one of the wealthiest cities in Pisidia when Alexander the Great conquered it in 333 BCE on his way to Persia. It had a population of a few thousand. After Alexander's death, the region became part of territories of Antigonus Monophthalmus, possibly Lysimachus of Thrace, the Seleucids of Syria and the Attalids of Pergamon. Archeological record indicates that locals rapidly adopted Hellenic culture.
The first Roman emperor, Augustus, was probably the most influential character in the story of Sagalassos. Not that he was directly involved in the city, but under his reign there was peace, the investment climate was favourable, the tax system was reformed, a road connected Sagalassos to the sea, and the population grew strongly.
The climate was also warmer and wetter, allowing olive cultivation 500 m higher up the intramontane valleys than today. The local elite immediately saw the opportunities offered by this new context, particularly in economic terms. Unlike the rest of Pisidia, Sagalassos drew the Roman card without renouncing its identity. The first century was indeed a golden age for Sagalassos
The first (southern) architrave of the Apollo Temple's facade after its restauration in A.D. 103-104. The first line contains the dedication to Apollo Klarios and the divine Augusti, the last one mentions the operation of marble wall veneering (skoutlosis) of the interior walls.

After centuries of Hellenization and Roman rule, a third major change took place in Sagalassos from the fourth century onward: the city became Christian. Significant administrative developments occurred and after a pause in construction of nearly 235 years, building activity resumed at the end of the fourth century. Local elites were less involved in the city than before. From the fifth century on, Christianization widely influenced the architecture of Sagalassos.
Around 400 CE Sagalassos was fortified for defence. An earthquake devastated it in 518 and a plague circa 541-543 halved the local population. Arab raids threatened the town around 640 and after another earthquake destroyed the town in the middle of the seventh century, the site was abandoned. The populace probably resettled in the valley. Excavations have found only signs of a fortified monastery—possibly a religious community, which was destroyed in the twelfth century. Sagalassos disappeared from the records.
In the following centuries, erosion covered the ruins of Sagalassos. It was not looted to a significant extent, possibly because of its location.
In the 7th century AD, the situation had further aggravated due to continuous Arab raids and new epidemics when the city was struck once more with a heavy earthquake, most probably around 590 AD. Despite this disaster, recent research has proven that the city remained occupied until the 13th century in the form of isolated and well-defended hamlets, located on some promontories which maintained the name of the former ancient city. One of these hamlets found on the Alexander's Hill of Sagalassos was destroyed in mid 13th century, by which time Seljuk's had already build a bath and a caravanserai in the village in the valley (Ağlasun).
The abandoned ancient city was then rapidly covered under vegetation and erosion layers. As a result of its remote location, Sagalassos was not really looted in later periods and remained to be one of the best preserved ancient cities in the Mediterranean.

Description

The site of Sagalassos remains almost completely preserved, with the monumental structures, where in some cases almost all the original building stones can be recovered. It is an exceptional and unique case to find a middle sized but highly flourished town in such a well preserved state. An interdisciplinary archaeological research conducted on the site for the last nineteen years has documented all layers and kinds of occupation, delivering a coherent set of archaeological and environmental results that contribute to the history of the region. All these remains document at least a thousand years of continuous occupation (3rd century BC-13th century AD).
 View from Sagalassos to the valley below, with the Northwest Heroon in the foreground, 1st c.AD

The site, the current town and the region have the exemplary potential to be integrated into the "sustainable rural development strategy" of the Turkish State (State Planning Organization 2006) that covers universally excepted concepts. It can be opened, in a controlled manner, for sustainable alternative tourism options, such as hiking, mountaineering and eco-tourism, ensuring the preservation of unique values it bares. For this purpose, a site management project that takes the wider region into account is in the process of being developed, in collaboration with the scientists of the international archaeological research project.


Site Monuments
 
 

Hellenistic fountain house


  The Heroon
The Heroon (Funerary Monument) at the northwest corner of the Upper Agora at Sagalassos,Possibly honoring Alexander the Great.According to a sign on the site “inside the monument stood a more than 3 m [10 ft.]  high marble statue, perhaps representing a youthful Alexander the Great who had conquered the city in 333 BC.”

For more photos of the Roman period check below.
Albums

Faustina Hadrian Marcus Aurelius VariousPanoramas

Sources / Bibliography / Photos

Bruno Vandermeulen, Danny Veys
Semra Mägele, Julian Richard and Marc Waelkens, "A Late-Hadrianic Nymphaeum at Sagalassos
(Pisidia, Turkey): A preliminary report", Istanbuler Mitteilungen 57 (2007), 469-504
https://www.facebook.com/sagalassosproject
http://www.wikipedia.org/
http://whc.unesco.org
http://www.tursaga.com
http://www.sagalassos.be
https://www.flickr.com/photos/carolemage/sets/72157633189484139/

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